Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Some Not-So-Shocking News About Security Theater

I can't say I was surprised when I saw this article from CNN today, reporting that acting TSA director Melvin Carraway has been "reassigned" after TSA screeners "failed to detect explosives and weapons in nearly every test that an undercover team conducted at dozens of airports," specifically 67 out of 70, or 96%.

That's OK though. 

Once Melvin Carraway is safely "reassigned" to his new job as head baker at Hogwarts, The Department of Homeland Security plans to take a long, hard look at how these "layers" of security can be improved, because "the numbers in these reports never look good out of context, but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security."

Oh yes. Context is just what's needed here. 

We know it LOOKS bad that a random internal audit revealed that security theater is less than four percent effective, but that's misleading. See, we civilians are dumb and ignorant. We just don't understand that letting grandma keep her light jacket on as she stutter-steps through airport screening is all a very "critical element" of our country's "evolution" into a dystopian yet ineffective police state that tries to ferret out "bad guys" like we live in a back-issue of a Marvel Comics book.

I assume TSA is referring to the specific "layer" that involves taking off my flip-flops, getting a titty massage, and watching as the same guy I'm pretty sure was operating the plastic apple spinning ride at this weekend's traveling carnival closely scrutinizes a child's stuffed giraffe and waves a little plastic wand over a bottle of breast milk.

If I can't travel from Minneapolis to Chicago without undergoing a radiated scan of my vagina, it would be nice to know that these measures successfully keep objects off the plane that could actually kill people, instead of unearthing open cans of diet coke and a tube of Crest that's two ounces over the five ounce limit.

But the "let's pretend it's all OK" power of self-delusion is strong, and nowhere is it stronger than in the security theater that's been a hallmark of 'Murica for nearly fifteen years. So let's just keep pretending it's all OK--even in the face of statistics gathered by the very agency whose job it is to make us believe it's all OK--that it's actually very much not OK at all.

As of this writing, Melvin Carraway was last seen making a tasty "layer" cake with breast milk-buttercream frosting for the residents of Gryffindor House.

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